We don’t give cotton swabs (aka Q-tips) nearly enough credit. Often left to gather dust at the back of the medicine cabinet, we usually only bring out cotton swabs to remove earwax from our ears, which, surprise, we’re actually not supposed to do. Experts say this practice can actually push the wax further into our ears and even damage our ear canal. (Here’s what doctors recommend we do instead.)
But interestingly enough, cotton swabs have much more efficient uses when it comes to tidying up your home and beautifying your face, ears not included. Added bonus: These cotton swab hacks are so much safer for you, too!
Q Tip Hack
Clean a dirty phone screen.
Experts say the best way to clean your phone screen is with a cotton swab dipped in diluted rubbing alcohol. Just remove your phone case, turn off your phone, and get to scrubbing (gently). After your phone looks good as new, grab a new cotton swab, dip it in water, and give the screen another rub-down with single strokes.
Q Tip Hacks
Mess-proof a paint job.
To keep paint from ending up on glass (such as the frame of a mirror), experts recommend dipping a cotton swab in petroleum jelly and spreading it on the glass where it meets the frame. The paint won’t penetrate the jelly, so you can paint around it and just wash the it off with soap and water once it has dried.
Q Tip Uses
Open a jammed zipper.
According to Allure, all you need to dislodge a stuck zipper is a cotton swab and a "generous" dollop of hand lotion. To do: Simply put the lotion on the cotton swab, and then slide it along the zipper, both in front of and behind the jam. This simple hack should get the zip back to normal in no time at all.
Uses For Q Tips
Fade age spots.
A cotton swab and a 2-ingredient DIY serum work as a team to vanish age spots. According to experts, all you have to do is mix 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. witch hazel in lidded jar. Then, use your cotton swab to apply the blend to age spots daily before bed. You can refrigerate the remaining serum for one week.
Cotton Swab Hacks
Give your roots a touch-up.
Sick of waiting for your next salon appointment to freshen up grown-out roots? According to Self, all you have to do is dip a cotton swab into eyeshadow or mascara that most closely fits your chosen shade of hair color to cover them. The small ends ensure precise application that won't leave icky residue on your scalp.
Cotton Swab Use
Avoid getting sick on a plane.
Gotta love a cotton swab hack that's Meghan Markle-approved! Before the royal shut down her blog The Tig, she shared a flying trick she learned thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio. A friend of Meghan's apparently heard from the actor himself that applying Neosporin to a cotton swab and coating the inside of the nostrils creates a barrier to keep germs at bay while you're in the air. On top of that, the layer of ointment locks in moisture and keeps your nasal cavities hydrated.
Q Tip Cotton Swab
Un-scuff patent leather shoes.
Notice a scuff on your patent leather heals or flats? Have no fear! According to Cosmopolitan, a cotton swab and nail polish remover are all you need to make your kicks shine once more. Just soak the end of your cotton swab in the nail polish remover, then rub it in a circular motion over the mark until it's gone.
What Are Cotton Swabs For
Sneeze-proof your mascara.
If you're prone to saying "achoo" every time you put on your best mascara, there's an easy way to clear up the mess under your eyes without smudging. Experts recommend dotting a cotton swab with your face primer and gently dabbing it around your eyes to quickly erase the unintentional mistake.
Who knew that teeny-tiny Q-tips could solve so many problems in a pinch? It just goes to show that sometimes big things really do come in small packages.